We at Nia are appalled by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent post on X confirming and agreeing with antisemitic views. While this type of behavior is predictable from Musk, it is nonetheless dangerous. This type of antagonistic behavior by a CEO would typically result in the Board of Directors taking serious punitive action. We as investors have long been concerned about the erratic and divisive speech coming from such a prominent corporate figure and now the owner of a broad media platform.
This type of speech is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. The lack of action from the Tesla Board of Directors should also be of great concern to investors. The societal impacts cannot be separated from the financial outlook and bottom line for the companies of which Mr. Musk is a key figurehead. Tesla continues to rely on its ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent to execute its goals. Tesla was once a strong environmental brand where top engineers wanted to work. The impact of erratic, racist, and antisemitic speech from a CEO directly affects Tesla’s brand and bottom line in significant ways. This behavior has the power to tarnish the brand long-term, create reluctance from consumers to purchase its products, weaken its already fragile relationship with employees, and negatively impact future talent acquisition.
As detailed in Tesla’s Code of Business Ethics, “Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy is itself grounded in Doing the Right Thing. ” Mr. Musk’s repeated occurrences of erratic behavior coupled with recent intentionally discriminatory language are in violation of Tesla’s Code of Business Ethics, specifically, around two guiding principles: 1) We Treat Everyone with Respect, and 2) We Do Business with Integrity. The Code of Business Ethics calls out the importance of no discrimination, building a safe place to work, and not engaging in abusive behavior. We ask that the Board of Directors take appropriate actions to address this violation, to result in censure by the Board, demotion, re-assignment, suspension, or removal.
Nia Impact Capital
Melissa Irish, MBA
Christina L. Desser
Kathia Castro Laszlo, PhD
James Felix Cook